What role does concept play in restaurant business?
I have said this for many years that concept is more important and bigger than cuisine in any emerging market. If you see what is happening all over the world; I think going out is not just filling your stomach. At one point it was going about for dinner or lunch once a week but now we are going out 5 times a week. So, if somebody goes out for 5 times a week and they are trying to get same experience every time, it’s not the same. Secondly, a restaurant is more of a meeting place. So, the idea behind every time you go out; whether it is the food on your plate or the environment. I think the experience is far more important than only the food. At some point the customers are smarter they know what they want, what they are eating. A good product becomes the base level. You can’t give the bad product.
What’s different at your restaurant when we talk about introducing a new experience?
We are trying to bring ideas that people can have an interaction with their food. For e.g. we introduced stone pots- it’s a sizzler which has rice, noodles and now we have introduced quinoa which is a healthy option. It’s an experience where the waiter brings the pot to your table and mixes it in front of you and it stays hot for 30-40 minutes. Even if people have experienced it before they get some kind of delight getting something that they have eaten for many years. Chinese has become an extension of Indian food. It is heavily eaten food after Indian. So, it’s all together a new experience. Also, we have got mochi ice cream for the first time in India. Again it is very different way of portioning and experiencing ice cream. It’s something which people have seen in Singapore, Japan and London and anywhere they have travelled. This is altogether a new kind of experience for our local customers.
What trend do you see going forward?
I think the line between the cuisines is going to get blurred. Indian v/s Chinese or Vietnamese v/s Koreans all are going to be similar in platforms. People are going to borrow flavours from other cuisines. I think it is very important to bring healthy options of dining in the mainstream. I think till today healthy is not considered as tasty and the moment somebody figures out how to make healthy tasty; that would be the next big thing for me. The trend is to go towards healthier lifestyles. Today people are eating as much as 5 times a week and hence, they will have to eat something light.